An Ohio county court ruling Tuesday prohibits the state from using a lethal injection protocol similar to the one used in Kentucky, which was recently upheld in Baze v. Rees. Rather than the combination of three chemicals, the court order requires the state to perform lethal injection by using only a sedative that is commonly used in animal euthanasia.
The US Supreme Court in Baze addressed a challenge based on the US Constitution, which does not require that lethal injections be free from any and all risk of pain. The decision by the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas in Elyria, Ohio, on the other hand, is based on an Ohio law that requires lethal injections to use ”a drug or combination of drugs of sufficient dosage to quickly and painlessly cause death.” The judge stated the state law ”demands the avoidance of any unnecessary risk of pain and, as well, any unnecessary expectation by the condemned person that his execution may be agonizing or excruciatingly painful.”
Two men, Ruben O. Rivera and Ronald McCloud, who have not been tried but were charged with murder during a robbery and raping and killing a woman respectively, brought the case, in which the Ohio Supreme Court refused to intercede to address an argument that the proceeding was premature.